Community, Health

Fire fighters’ life-saving donation

Community supporter Alister Neal with Fire Fighter Scottie Henry. Photo: Paula Hulburt

A volunteer fire force has raised thousands of dollars to bring a life saving device to a rural community.

Rarangi Voluntary Rural Fire Force has put up a defibrillator outside the Beach Road station.

It means people in the immediate area can access vital treatment faster should they suffer a cardiac arrest.

Firefighter Scottie Henry says the move fills a gap in getting emergency help when every second counts.

“It’s about community resilience.

“We have one [a defibrillator] on the truck but if we’re out it’s inaccessible.

“People do pull up outside the station in an emergency and to have the defibrillator here could save someone’s life.”

The community gave generously to the call for funds which helped pay for the $4000 defibrillator, batteries and pads.

A locked box keeps the equipment safe and users need to call 111 to get the pin number to unlock it.

With about 340 households in the vicinity of the station, it’s important that help is available as soon as possible, Scottie says.

“For every minute without defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by around 10 per cent.”

The 14-strong volunteer force put a call out on Facebook for donations and then knocked on hundreds of doors around the community to secure funds.

People were delighted to take part and support the initiative, says Scottie.

“We are a community that looks after each other and if anyone, locals or tourists, need help, the defibrillator is there.

“It’s easy to see in its bright yellow case and there are instructions on it to follow.

“When you call 111 an operator will stay on the phone to talk you through what to do until help arrives,” he says.

Training people how the defibrillator works is the next step to help save lives.

“We hope that St John might help with that,” Scottie says, who revealed the Rarangi Fire Fighter Sky Tower Team 2020 had done well at last week’s challenge in Auckland.

Todd Neal came first in the Grand Master and Donned categories (carrying equipment) while James Cowie was second in his age group and in the Grand Masters.

The brigade is also starting a junior crew in the New Year.

“Five keen local teenagers have said they want to take part and we would like to see if we can get more.

“It’s a means to involve the wider community and hopefully get them keen on the idea of maybe volunteering with us later on,” Scottie says.

“We will do fire related learning including fire safety, use of our firefighting equipment and team building exercises.”

Email [email protected] for further information.

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